Chapter 1

The feud between the Faustus family and the Lucifer family is as old as time itself. Never mind the fact that raven demons and spider demons weren't the most harmonious of couples; the families just didn't get along. The Faustus family was one of upper nobility; the head of the house, Crocell Faustus, was an Archduke with Claude Faustus as his heir. The Lucifer family were royals with Satan Lucifer positioned at the throne; as he'd been since his banishment from Heaven. The lord of the realm had many children and no particular favorites, although it couldn't be hidden that he greatly preferred his youngest son, Michaelis.

Both families knew something had to be done about their feuding. Several wars had been fought, either because of a mere insult or a dirty look to another. The wars always ended in a draw to avoid serious casualties to both sides and to show they wouldn't go so far as to destroy each other completely. The amount of fighting that was seen was bad; that's why the heads of both families decided to find a way to call a truce and restore peace between the two families to avoid further conflict, though they both knew what the solution was going to be.

"Are you sure you wish to do this, you're Majesty?" Crocell asked Satan.

The two powerful demons sat across from each other at a round table in Lucifer's throne room to privately discuss their options.

"If we are to bury the hatchet, good and proper, it's the only option we have." Satan replied.

"And what do your children think of all of this? What does Michaelis think?"

Satan let out a heavy sigh, "I haven't told any of them yet, and Michaelis is the only one left without a mate. It depends which one of your sons or daughters is willing to take him."

"I'm afraid I can only offer my eldest son, Claude. He might be laid up in bed with a stab wound at the moment, and he might have a bit of a grudge against Michaelis for stabbing him, but he's the only one of my children that hasn't tried to murder a member of your family just for sport."

"I don't think Michaelis and Claude would make a harmonious couple. What's to stop them from trying to kill each other?"

"Another war, most likely." Crocell replied, "Besides, Claude knows I've come here to discuss pairing him with one of your children, and he knows very well that Michaelis is one of your children and that he doesn't have a mate. He might not like Michaelis now because there was a human soul in the picture before. If we take the soul out of the equation, I see way they can at least try to bond."

Satan let out another sigh, "Talk to Claude about it and give me his answer as soon as you can. In the meantime, I'll discuss things with Michaelis."

Crocell nodded and rose to leave, "I'll be relieved if I talk to Claude about it. Michaelis is a good man."

Claude lay in his bed, staring blankly up at the ceiling. His father had yet to return from Satan Lucifer's castle with the news of who'd he be partnered with. He hoped his father hadn't done something incredibly stupid and gotten himself executed; that would be the last thing anyone in his family would want to happen, especially after what Sebastian had done to him.

Claude groaned in pain as the wound in his chest burned, stung and ached in multiple places. Even though it had healed to the point where one couldn't see that the sword had run him completely through, it still hurt like hell.

There was knock at his bedroom door and a maid trotted in.

"Excuse me, sir," she said softly, "I've come to change your bandages."

Claude let out a sigh and managed to sit up, "Fine, then."

The maid carefully unwrapped the old bandage from around his torso and took a minute to examine the wound.

"Looks like it's getting better." She commented.

"Finally . . ." Claude muttered to himself.

The maid wrapped the clean bandages around his torso carefully.

"Are you excited to know who your partner will be, sir?" she asked.

Excited might have not been the word Claude would have used to describe how he felt about being told who his partner would be, but he'd be lying if he'd said he was dreading the moment he found out.

"I suppose you could say that." Claude replied, "It might be a Lucifer that I'll be paired with, but whoever he or she is, I want to love and protect them at all cost."

From behind him, Claude heard a familiar chuckle.

"I'm so glad you feel that way son. It'll make it a hell of a lot easier to tell you, now."

Claude turned his head to find his father standing at the door with a smirk plated on his face. Claude and his father looked very much alike with short black hair and golden eyes. They were both quite tall and well-built and normally didn't show much emotional expression, as spider demons tended to do.

"So . . ." Claude said as the maid finished bandaging him and trotted out of the room, "Did you and Satan pair me with someone?"

Crocell nodded, "We did."

"Who is it?"

There was a hesitant pause, "You might want to lay back down for this one, son."

Claude had always found out that it was never a good thing when his father said things like that. He did as he was told and moved back to laying down in his bed; his upper body propped up by a mound of goose-down pillows.

Crocell settled himself beside him.

"Satan and I have found a partner for you." He said, "But I'm pretty sure you're not going to like who it is."

"Who is it?" Claude repeated.


Claude's eyes widened, "Michaelis?! As in 'Sebastian' Michaelis?!"

Crocell nodded, "That'd be the one."

"No! I can't accept this; I won't accept this! I mean, do you really expect me to . . . Ow!"

Claude groaned in pain as his wound started to act up because of his ranting. It ached terribly.

"Calm yourself, boy!" Crocell warned, "Don't exhaust yourself."

Claude let out a sigh, "Do you really expect me to go through with pairing with him; the one who did this to me?"

"If you want to be the one to end this feud, then yes, I do."

"You're serious?"

Sebastian stood before his father as the demon ruler broke the news to him.

"I'm completely serious, Michaelis. You are to be paired with Claude Faustus, if he accepts."

The young demon let out a huff, "And what make you so sure that he will accept?"

"I'm not sure, but the Faustus family wants this feud to end just as badly as we do, so there is the slightest possibility that he will accept."

"And have you forgotten what I did to that blasted spider demon? I ran him straight through the chest with a demon sword. I don't think he'll forgive me for that so easily."

At that moment a servant entered the room.

"News from Lord Faustus. Claude has accepted your offer."

Sebastian ran a hand through his ebony hair, which now stretched down to the small of his back. Large, black wings sprouted from his back and the longest feathers dragged on the floor just behind his high-heeled boots.

"I need to think about this." He said as he walked out of the room, "I'm going for a walk."

And Sebastian did walk. He walked into the woods that stretched far behind the castle until he found his favorite part of the woods where a dead, hollowed out tree stood.

He crawled into an opening in the tree where he was partly hidden and he let his mind wander.

He wouldn't have cared about being paired with Claude so much if the spider demon hadn't gotten in his way in the past. Sebastian was surprised when he found out he was still alive and he knew he was the reason Claude was still in bed, recovering from the stab wound in his chest. He wondered what would happen once they saw each other face to face. Would Claude try to kill him? Hurt him? Would he yell? Would he not care? Or would he just let everything go for the sake of ending a feud and they could start over?

Sebastian crawled out of the tree and spread out in an opening where the sun was shining to bask. The heat beat down on his face and torso, and suddenly a nap sounded heavenly. Perhaps things will look better once he slept on it a while.